The week in review

Most watched smoke signals: At the Vatican, where 115 cardinals gather to select Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as successor to Pope John Paul II April 19. Ratzinger, 78, will be known as Benedict XVI.

Most watched local smoke: DePaul basketball coach Dave Leitao accepts the job as Pete Gillen's successor at UVA.

Least missed traffic signals: The pair of "Twaffic Tweety" mobile stoplights that narrowed Water Street to one lane for over three months disappear April 18, with one crashing to the street into a million pieces, according to a witness.

Most buried news: Veteran political reporter Bob Gibson's investigation into the background of beleaguered Charlottesville school superintendent Scottie Griffin gets hidden in the middle of the B section in the April 17 edition of the Sunday Daily Progress.

Biggest population drop: Charlottesville lost more residents in the last four years than anywhere else in Virginia. According to Census Bureau estimates, the best place to live in America dropped from 40,099 in 2000 to 36,605 in 2004– 8.7 percent, reports John Yellig in the Progress.

Biggest population flop: In 2000, the Census Bureau misunderstood city-county-UVA boundaries and issued a wildly inaccurate figure.

Biggest tax cut: Charlottesville drops its rate for the second year in a row, making $1.05 per $100 of assessed value the new, four-cent-lower real estate rate. Of course, residential real estate assessments increased an average of 14.6 percent in 2005.

Hottest political issue throughout Virginia: Slowing higher property taxes caused by soaring real estate prices.

Latest supe candidates: Incumbent Sally Thomas announces she'll seek a fourth term representing the Samuel Miller District on the Board of Supervisors, and Ragazzi marketing director Thomas J. Jakubowski says he's a candidate for the Rio District seat held by David Bowerman, who at press time had not announced whether he'd run for a fifth term.

Closest but no cigar: State Senator Emmett Hanger comes up short– about 3,500 signatures– and moments late in filing petitions before the 5pm April 15 deadline to run for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary June 14. Gil Davis and Kenneth Golden also bow out.

Worst oops: A Cincinnati company ships samples of a deadly flu virus to more than 6,000 labs, including the UVA Medical Center. The hospital destroyed its three samples of the virus that killed approximately 4,000,000 people worldwide in 1957-58, Claudia Pinto reports in the Progress.

Biggest lapse in proper credit: Legal giant and Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe is reproached for using a 19-word passage by UVA professor emeritus Henry Abraham without acknowledgement. A Harvard investigation determines the inclusion inadvertent rather than intentional, and Tribe apologizes.

Biggest leak: A gas line hit by a backhoe evacuates Hollymead Elementary and Sutherland Middle schools April 12 for about 25 minutes. County fire officials charge the superintendent for Mid Atlantic Contractors, which didn't mark the gas line before construction.

Worst family-pet trend: A pit bull bites the face of a Louisa County seven-year-old boy April 10, 30 minutes before four-year-old Robert Waller Shafer is killed by his Orange County family's Rottweiler-shepherd. Ronald Wells, 52, collapses and dies in Richmond April 8 after pulling his neighbor's pit bull off his Rottweiller-chow. And a neighbor's German shepherd bites a one-year-old Albemarle boy in the face April 15.

Worst setback for Wiccans: Cynthia Simpson loses her appeal to get on a list of religious leaders allowed to pray at the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meetings.

Longest bath: A 75-year-old Hampton woman, Jane Fromal, is trapped for five days in her tub when she's unable to lift herself out.